Does braiding or tying your hair in a ponytail cause hair loss?
Some hairstyles such as tight ponytails and braids excessively pull the hair and cause a specific type of hair loss known as Traction Alopecia.
Traction Alopecia is caused predominantly by a pulling force being applied to the hair. This differs from the hair pulling disorder trichotillomania where men and/or women purposely pull their hair out in various locations of the scalp.
American pop sensation of the early 2000s Christina Aguilera has suffered from traction alopecia. Her long, lustrous blonde hair became one of her characteristic assets.
But years of extensions and hydrogen peroxide damaged her hair to the point where she had to cover her bald patches with wigs. While her hair may have grown back since 2003 when her condition was first revealed, in some cases traction alopecia is permanent and irreversible.
Another celebrity and former singer, Victoria Beckham has had bald spots due to traction alopecia. She has also had her hair fall out due to the changing hormones that come with pregnancy.
Many pregnant women and new mothers are shocked when their hair begins to fall out. However, once hormone levels return to normal, hair should stop falling out, and within several months should start growing back.
Causes of Traction Alopecia
This type of hair loss generally affects individuals who wear their hair in tight ponytails, pigtails, or braids. Additionally, traction alopecia can be caused by wearing hair extensions and weaves. In some instances, traction alopecia can occur on other parts of the body such as the eye brows, legs, or beard.
How to Prevent Traction Alopecia
Traction Alopecia is preventable and therefore, prevention can be considered the best “treatment”. However, if Traction Alopecia has already begun, there may be things you can do to reverse it.
- When wearing a ponytail, wear it loosely instead pulling it tight. Wearing hair loosely will prevent it from pulling and potentially causing damage to the hair follicle.
- Taking periodic breaks from wearing weaves and extensions will also allow the hair sufficient time to grow back, and revert back to normal. Like Male Pattern Baldness, Traction Alopecia is progressive. If not prevented/treated early, Traction Alopecia hair loss will become permanent.
Treatment for Traction Alopecia
In some cases Traction Alopecia can be reversed, but a change of hairstyle and treatment would be required immediately.
Minoxidil may help if Traction Alopecia is in the early stages and the hair follicles underneath the scalp haven’t been completely damaged or destroyed.
This is rubbed into the bald patches and has been shown to promote hair regrowth in most cases. This is the same treatment that is used for the common male pattern baldness.
Unfortunately, most individuals suffering from Traction Alopecia have permanent hair loss and the only real way to restore their hair is to undergo a Hair Transplant.
Regrow Hair Centre offers the Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) method as it is a proven, minimally invasive outpatient procedure in which follicular unit grafts, consisting of a small number of hair follicles, are individually removed from the genetically stronger areas of the scalp (the ‘donor’ areas) and artistically restored to your thinning areas (the ‘recipient’ areas).
Our experienced Hair Transplant surgeons use the FUE natural graft replacement process to recreate your hairline and growth pattern for a permanent, natural looking result. As there are no linear scars or stitches required, your donor area will heal in a few days.
This surgical technique is primarily used to treat Androgenic Alopeciabut has been shown to be effective on any part of the scalp.
Written by Khuram Abbas Raja for The Regrow Hair Centre.